Who Wants Nortel’s 4G Patents?
Nortel was once a cornerstone of the telecom industry. These days it’s little more than an estate sale, a now-bankrupt company auctioning off the valuables of a fallen titan.
Last year, Nortel sold its optical networking and carrier ethernet business to Ciena for $769 million and its wireless business to Ericsson for $1.3 billion. Soon it will sell off its patents as well, among them some thought to be essential 4G wireless technologies like Long Term Evolution (LTE) and Service Architecture Evolution (SAE).
And that IP is drawing a lot of interest from the likes of Research in Motion, Nokia, Google and Apple, none of which want to see it in the hands of a rival, particularly as 4G’s commercial availability broadens. Sources tell me all four companies are participating in the auction, and Reuters reports that final bids are due in a matter of weeks. Said one source, “Whoever buys these patents is buying a hell of an advantage.”
Reached for comment, Apple and RIM declined. Google and Nokia did not respond.